"Do I need running socks?" is a frequently asked question when it comes to running preparation. Many people would be willing to pay thousands of dollars for one high-quality pair of shoes, but not the same number have the will to spend on a good pair of socks. This may sound controversial to numerous runners that socks are of the same importance as shoes. They are designed to make your running more enjoyable and comfortable.
In this article, we will discuss thoroughly running socks, especially the benefits one can gain from investing in his or her socks. We believe that this item should not be out of your list of preparation in most sports, including running.
1. Running Socks Are Invented To Enhance Our Performance
In this section, we are going to prove exactly why socks are made to improve our running performances. There will be two main parts: materials and features of running socks, detailedly explaining why these products are must-have, not all-hype ones.
The materials used to make running socks
If you are thinking of cotton running socks, you are completely mistaken. The reason for this statement is that cotton socks are not running socks because the ventilation levels are low, no compression is present, and cotton socks barely support injury prevention. The two major materials used to produce running socks are synthetic fibers and merino wool.
- Synthetic fibers: Common synthetic fibers found in running socks are often a combination of polyester, nylon, and acrylic. Coolmax and Drymax are the two most popular fabrics made, in terms of running socks. These materials are highly ventilating, capable of pulling out and controlling the moisture rates, and extremely fast drying. They are perfect for wet days in your running routine.
- Merino wool: Merino is a sheep breed that provides us with the softest and most breathable wool. This wool is then used to make running socks, and the socks are completely different from those itchy sweaters we have worn. Apart from their ability to control the moisture levels of our feet, the merino wool running socks can adjust the temperature in the surrounding environment to be compatible with our body’s warmth. One plus point for merino wool is that it is more eco-friendly compared to other materials with less production waste, and this partly contributes to the environmental protection progress these days.
Running sock features that make your running process more comfortable and enjoyable
- Sock cushion: unlike the usual socks you wear daily, running socks feature a much thinker cushion in the areas of toes and heels. This will offer those areas more protection against feet pain, swelling, or any type of injury. The suitable thickness of your sock cushion would highly depend on your running frequency and levels.
- Ventilation: Ventilation is a must-have feature in any running sock. This helps runners to control the moisture at the feet area and make the whole running process more bearable.
- Multiple layers: Some socks are designed for athletes. They have up to 2 layers, adding much more protection and support to prevent runners from any injury that can happen during the running process.
- Toes' covering: the toe areas of running socks are also upgraded with seamless and separated toes. Some types will be of running-specific designs with no separators among toes and some on the opposite style.
- Each sock for one foot: There are many providers on the market selling distinguished socks for the left and right foot, aiming to gain shoppers the best running experience.
- Compression: Many running socks these days are of the compression type. Compression running socks are used commonly not only in sports but also in some disease treatments because they add up blood circulation and support the active period. Moreover, they are well-known for their ability of swell improvement.
2. What Benefits Do Running Socks Bring To You?
In this part, we will discuss more detailedly the benefits of running socks. This part will focus on foot health, injury prevention, pain and swelling improvement, and comfortability.
Foot health improvement
According to the American Podiatric Medical Assoc, one of the most remarkable foot problems found in many runners is that their feet sweat too much and stink. As your feet sweat too much, leading to the smell of stink. This is one of the first signs we are aware that our feet’ health is problematic.
Healthy feet would barely sweat and do not have any weird smell. Running socks as aforementioned are made of highly breathable materials. As a result, they can help with this. It's time you got rid of all your old socks which does not relate so much to running and the effective levels in ventilation are nearly zero.
Socks that are designed for running purposes would be made of synthetic fibers or merino wool, having the great capability of moisture control. Hence, running socks would promote your foot health.
Adding comfortability to your feet
Unlike ordinary socks made of cotton, running socks fit perfectly to your feet, ensuring that the area is well protected and supported. Many people mistake that running socks will only add up the annoyance and moisture as they are thicker than normal socks. However, this is quite a misconception.
Running socks are sport-purpose designed, and their mission is to make your running more enjoyable. Running socks also have been innovated over time, and many innovations have been made to alter the running socks to their best version, serving our running purposes. Therefore, no annoyance should be present when you wear good quality running socks.
Protect your feet from swelling and skin friction
Compression running socks is a branch in this category. If you wear compression running socks during your routine, it will help you significantly improve the swelling. Compression socks have been found in many surveys and medical reports that they are effective in reducing swelling and improving the condition of wear usually. The blood circulation is also enhanced.
Regular socks are not designed for sports purposes; hence, they are not as thick as running ones. Thickness has a tight connection with reducing or preventing skin friction. The perfect fit, along with the thick layers will improve the conditions of feet sweat and skin friction.
This is probably the most remarkable benefit of running socks - injury prevention. These socks have thick layers, and they can protect the key areas such as toes and heels. The cushion of running socks is also specially designed and is thicker than that of normal socks. They add up support and protection to our feet.
At the same time, the other parts such as toes and heels are well made and can prevent us from getting injured while we run.
3. Some Tips To Lengthen The Lifespan Of Running Socks
- Do not use bleaching chemicals while washing your socks: This bleach will break the fiber structure and damage your socks. As you wash your running socks, use the mild washing liquid to preserve the fiber structure and color.
- Wear clean running socks for each process: Make sure you change your running socks each time and wear the new, clean socks. Wear the same old socks does not make you become more time-saving. They will shorten your socks' lifespan
- Replace your running socks every 3 to 6 months: it is best to replace your socks in the period between 3 and 6 months because at this point, your socks may lose their flexibility and do not fit your feet anymore. It is better to change rather than keep the old socks
The article above has discussed the materials, features of running socks, the benefits it offers, and some tips to preserve your socks better. Running socks are must-have not all-hype items as many people claim them to be. Therefore, if you are taking up running, it is a good idea to invest in high-quality running socks to gain a more pleasant running experience.